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Featured Cannabinoid: Cannabidiol (CBD)

By Danyal Swan May 24, 2023

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been a hot topic in the world of health and wellness for years at this point, coinciding with hemp’s federal legalization in the 2018 Farm Bill. From pain relief to anxiety management, CBD products have since been touted and studied as a natural remedy for a wide variety of ailments. Surprisingly, it often seems like some of the staunchest support came from people who had never even considered trying a cannabis product in the past.

What exactly is CBD, how does it work, and what’s the best way to take it? We’ll take a closer look at this fascinating cannabinoid that often plays second fiddle to potent THC and explore its unique potential benefits. Whether you’re a seasoned CBD patient looking for new products or just curious about what exactly this popular compound is, we’re here to help get you answers.

Like other cannabinoids, CBD has an effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters that plays crucial roles in regulating all sorts of key bodily functions and responses to stimuli, including pain, mood, and sleep. Although many functions of the ECS are not yet well understood, researchers have concluded that CBD doesn’t appear to bind with  receptors directly; rather, it may modulate the way other cannabinoids bind to receptors or affect the way other cannabinoids break down.

Why Use CBD?

This brings us to one of the most promising aspects of CBD: its potential to relieve pain. Studies have shown that CBD can help reduce chronic pain by reducing inflammation, almost comparable to the effect of NSAID-class medications. This makes it an attractive option for people looking for a more natural alternative to harsher pain medications.

In addition to pain relief, CBD has also been studied for its potential to help manage anxiety and depression. Some studies have suggested that CBD can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and elevate mood in certain people. While research is ongoing in this important area, current findings suggest that CBD could be a very helpful addition to a holistic supplement routine for general mental health and stress relief purposes.

Emergent research suggests that CBD may also show promise as a treatment for other serious health conditions or the symptoms thereof, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease. In fact, the same year of the Farm Bill’s passing, the FDA approved a CBD-based drug called Epidiolex for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy. This application alone has been a life changer for many patients with serious epilepsy issues who hadn't previously responded well to traditional sedatives or other treatment options.

Another great thing about CBD is that it comes in many different forms, so you can choose the one that works best for you.

Some of the most popular forms of CBD include:

  • CBD Oil – This is one of the most common forms of CBD for health and wellness applications. Depending on the type of oil you purchase, it could be taken sublingually (under the tongue), added to food or drinks, or vaporized. Make sure you do not mix up an oil extraction intended for use in a vape cartridge with edible oil.
  • CBD Capsules – Capsules are a convenient way to take CBD for those who want to add the compound to their daily vitamin regimen. They’re easy to swallow and offer a pre-measured dose of CBD.
  • CBD Topicals – Topical CBD products, such as creams and balms, are applied directly to the skin for highly targeted pain relief applications. They are used to reduce pain and inflammation in a specific area of the body.
  • CBD Edibles – Just like THC edibles, CBD edible treats can be a fun and tasty way to consume your CBD. They come in a variety of forms, including fruity chews, chocolates, and even mints.

CBD is a fascinating cannabinoid with many potential benefits for health and wellness. From pain relief to anxiety management, there are so many great reasons to consider incorporating CBD into your wellness routine. And with all the great products to choose from, there’s sure to be one that fits your needs.

All About CBD

We can’t describe CBD without touching lightly on cannabidiolic acid, for without it, there would be no CBD!

Cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA, is the precursor of CBD. CBDA is abundant in the cannabis plant while growing - it’s post-harvest that decarboxylation occurs. Decarboxylation is the process of heating cannabinoids, which causes the loss of a carboxyl group. In less scientific terms, this means that atoms are removal from a a chemical structure, therefore changing the structure…in this case, changing CBDA to CBD. With cannabis and hemp flowers, this heat application is often achieved during the dry and cure period.

If you’re a little lost in the verbiage, we don’t blame you - cannabis and its parts can seem convoluted to those new to it. Let’s dive into some of the hazier terms.

Untangling the Terminology

Hemp, marijuana, cannabinoid, THC, and CBD are all extremely common terms related to cannabis and are sometimes used interchangeably by people who aren’t in the know.

It’s important to recognize that they mean totally different things:

  • Hemp – This term refers to the species of  cannabis sativa L. plant that produces less than 0.3% total THC. Alternatively, it can refer to the plant itself or products made with the plant, such as rope, cloth, or biodegradable packaging. Hemp products can be derived from male and female cannabis plants, whereas hemp flower or high THC flower are derived only from female plants. By federal law, industrial hemp must be a cannabis sativa L. plant with under 0.3% THC concentration, though its CBD content is unregulated.
  • Marijuana – Marijuana is a colloquial, non-scientific term that usually refers to cannabis flower from the cannabis sativa L. plant. This flower is  intended for smoking or other consumption and contains THC, which produces psychoactive effects. Many people do not realize that this is actually a somewhat controversial term for cannabis due to the potentially problematic origins of its popular usage in the United States.
  • Cannabis – The widely accepted term for all forms of cannabis sativa L., used to describe plants used for therapeutic or recreational purposes due to the presence of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, among other plant compounds.
  • Cannabinoid – Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in cannabis (and other) plants that interact with the human endocannabinoid system, or ECS. They are similar in structure to endocannabinoid compounds produced within the human body and thus can exert a range of effects.
  • THC – The most well-known cannabinoid which gives cannabis flower its potent psychoactive properties.
  • CBD – A non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in both male and female cannabis plants, which does not get the user “high” but has a unique therapeutic profile of its own.

Thus, although both hemp and marijuana are plants of the variety cannabis sativa L., the key difference is the presence of the psychoactive component THC, which is present in far higher amounts in high-quality dispensary cannabis than it is in hemp. CBD, on the other hand, can be found in both hemp and marijuana, though higher levels are present in hemp.

Potential Benefits of CBD

While studies into CBD and other cannabis-related compounds are ongoing, we now possess a general understanding of CBD’s major therapeutic and lifestyle benefits.

  • Pain Relief – Patients report that CBD can help reduce pain and inflammation, such as that associated with conditions like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and neuropathy.
  • Anxiety and Depression Management – CBD has been shown to have anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in some patients. It is thought that CBD may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by interacting with the serotonin and adenosine receptors in the brain.
  • Epilepsy Treatment – CBD has been approved by the FDA as a treatment for two rare forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, in addition to seizures related to tuberous sclerosis complex (a disease in which benign tumors form on the brain, eyes, spinal cord, and more). In clinical trials, CBD was shown to reduce the frequency of seizures in patients with these conditions.
  • Neuroprotective Effects – It is believed that CBD may even have neuroprotective properties that could help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. It may also have some potential to improve brain function and cognition in healthy individuals.
  • Anti-Inflammation – CBD is commonly used to reduce inflammation, even in cases of arthritis. Some product developers have even put CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties to use as powerful acne treatments.
  • Sleep Improvement – CBD may also help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia. It appears to interact with other cannabinoids to affect the ECS and mitigate the effects of THC.
  • Addiction Management – Some individuals who struggle with substance use disorders have reported that turning to CBD products has helped them manage cravings and certain withdrawal symptoms. For those who find success using CBD for this purpose, it can even potentially help prevent serious relapses.

CBD has shown anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects as well, though more thorough, in-vivo research is needed to confirm these preliminary findings.  

Different Forms of CBD

So how do you take CBD? Well, that completely depends on your personal preference. At this point, you can find a CBD-only version of just about any cannabis product. While you can find CBD-only products, 1:1 THC/CBD cannabis options are popular as well due to the synergy produced between the cannabinoids. Here are some common forms of CBD products that can also be found in 1:1 ratios:

Different Forms of CBD

CBD Extracts, Tinctures, and Isolates

CBD extracts are created by removing the high-CBD plant profile from the hemp or cannabis plant using a solvent. This thick, viscous CBD extract (that contains other plant compounds, like flavonoids and terpenes) is then infused into a carrier to create a CBD tinctures. Traditional tinctures, like the MÜV EnCaps options, use alcohol as the carrier, though oils may be used instead. CBD isolate is different - it fully isolates the CBD cannabinoids, resulting in a fine powder that can be used sublingually, infused into foods, or mixed into your favorite lotion to be used topically.

CBD Capsules

Capsules are among the easiest ways to dose CBD as they easy to swallow, and provide consistent dosing for those using CBD as part of a daily supplement routine. For newcomers to cannabis options, capsules can feel the most familiar, as it feels the same as taking an aspirin or other over-the-counter medication.

CBD Edibles

CBD-infused beverages and food products, such as soft chews, chocolates, and event mints, offer a discreet and convenient way to take CBD. It’s important to bear in mind that the effects will take longer to kick in as the cannabinoid must be processed by the digestive system. Due to the way cannabinoids are processed in the body, edible effects often last longer than those from other consumption methods.

CBD Topicals

Many people struggling with chronic pain swear by creams, lotions, balms, or salves infused with CBD. These can be applied directly to the skin to provide localized relief for sore muscles, joint pain, and skin conditions. The effects are local-only, as fat-soluble cannabinoids cannot cross through all layers of the skin to the bloodstream.

CBD Vapes

CBD vapes offer a quick onset of effects as the cannabinoid is passed from the respiratory tract into the bloodstream. It can be a discreet way of accessing your CBD or 1:1 THC/CBD medication.

CBD Inhalers

Although most inhalers are CBD/THC, these unique devices provide a simple, discreet way to take a CBD dose. Just like a typical asthma inhaler, patients simply need to place their mouth over the mouthpiece, press the canister, and take a puff for a metered dose of cannabis medication.

Dosing Considerations

CBD affects everyone differently, so it will be important to dial in a dose that works for you.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Start with a low dose, typically between 5-10mg of CBD. You can gradually increase your dosage over time until you achieve your desired effects.
  • Consider body weight and tolerance since, as a general rule of thumb, people who weigh more may need higher doses of CBD. Additionally, if you have a higher tolerance for similar substances like THC, you may need a higher dose of CBD to achieve the same effects.
  • Dispensary staff can be an invaluable resource, providing guidance on dosing and recommending products based on your needs and preferences. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek advice.
  • Keeping a journal of your CBD usage can help you track your progress and find the right dosage for you. Write down how much CBD you’re taking at each session, how you’re feeling before and after taking it, and any other relevant details, like other supplements consumed.
  • Be patient and give yourself time to adjust. If you’re thinking of starting a micro-dosing regimen and using CBD on a daily basis, be aware that a sufficient level of CBD can take time to build up in your system and produce noticeable effects.

Also keep in mind the compound’s overall effects - while you may notice a more calm, soothing sensation, you also might not. Think of CBD as a multivitamin or supplement; the more consistent you are with use, particularly when inhaling or taking orally, the more you’ll notice its effects.

CBD Capsules

CBD FAQs

CBD is a popular and widely available compound derived from the cannabis plant. It has gained a great deal of attention due to its potential therapeutic benefits and nationwide legal status, and more people than ever before are curious whether CBD may help them. Here are some of the most frequent questions about CBD.

Explore the Benefits of CBD with MÜV Today

Find CBD at MÜV

CBD is one of the dozens of cannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant, all of which comprise a group of functionally similar compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. Unlike THC, another well-known cannabinoid, CBD is considered non-psychoactive – in other words, it won’t get you “high.” Instead, CBD is best known for several exciting therapeutic properties.

Whether you’re looking to try CBD for the first time or you’re an experienced cannabis user looking for a new CBD product to try, we invite you to visit one of our dispensaries.


References:

  1. The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 2017. https://nap.nationalacademies.org/catalog/24625/the-health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids-the-current-state
  2. Malone, Trey. CBD, marijuana and hemp: What is the difference among these cannabis products, and which are legal? MSU.edu. The Conversation. April 2021. https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2021/cbd-marijuana-and-hemp

Content Manager for MÜV Florida and Contributor for Zen Leaf Dispensaries. A cannabis connoisseur with a passion for explaining the miraculous possibility of the plant, Swan began her journey with cannabis as a recreational user and quickly realized its positive impact on her depression and severe anxiety. She joined the cannabis industry as Receptionist and MedTender and witnessed first-hand the immense potential of the plant for a wide variety of ailments, deepening her passion for alternative medicine. Swan is dedicated to self-education on the plant and sharing its potential with all. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Iowa.

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